Blog

Don’t Fire Yourself

 

One of the difficulties in writing a book about your life is that life doesn’t stop and allow you to finish said book before flinging more adventures, lessons, and interesting opportunities your way.

I’ve written before about how my new book, entitled ‘My Exile Lifestyle,’ has been the most difficult to write of the five total I’ve put together, and now that it’s written — all I have left to do is make edits, add links and lay it out — the hurdle I’m encountering is the very thing I’m writing the book about: life is just too damn interesting to sit inside and tediously re-read (for the tenth time) a book I wrote.

I’ve somewhat come to terms with this, however, despite the productive side of my brain’s tenacious whispering in my mental-ear. “Shouldn’t you head home and finish editing a few chapters instead of meeting with friends?” it says. “Who needs friends anyway?”

But I don’t listen.

I’m in Iceland for less than one month longer before I leave, and there’s so much left to see and do that I have to make use of the whole day to fit everything in, sneaking in bits of work when I can (and I mean whole day: I’m sitting at an office downtown at the moment, answering a few emails and writing this blog post — I just snapped the photo for this post out the office’s window — would you believe it’s midnight?! Way too easy to work 24 hours a day here because of the continuous light this time of year), but mostly enjoying what’s left of my rendezvous with the land of ice and snow.

I consider this enjoyment a responsibility that I have to myself. I want to finish up my book, and I will, but I want to continue to live a life I feel is worth writing about even more, and that’s the deciding factor when I’m torn between staying out late and heading home early.

You might say I’ve written it into my job description. “Make everything you do every day worth the time you spend on it.”

I guess I’d better get back to it: I don’t want to have to fire myself.

Blog

One Moment in Time and the Tower Bridge

 

I check the time on my phone: it’s 2am.

The phone is plugged into my computer, which is itself plugged into the wall. There is a big daisy-chain of gadgets soaking up as much energy as possible from the unfamiliar wall-sockets, each tethered to the other out of necessity, their individuality limited by the single UK-outlet adapter I brought with me on my jaunt to England.

I turn back to the window and gaze out at Tower Bridge. It’s beautifully lit by the already-rising sun peeking over the horizon just enough to make me wonder if my phone’s clock is accurate. As I measure the Bridge’s aesthetics with my eyes, I assess the situation with my brain.

It’s been a long day. Really long. My flight from London to Keplavik was cancelled because of an ash cloud sputtered into international airspace by an Icelandic volcano, but not before we passengers were told that it would be just fine, don’t worry, you’ll make it back as planned.

A string of disappointments led up to standing in a queue 100-people long, waiting for over an hour for some kind of shuttle that would be taking us who-knows-where so that we would vacate the airport for the night, allowing the security guards to go home without having to worry that we’ll spend our night stealing Toblerone from the duty-free store.

It was a full-sized bus that picked us up, and with hip-hop-trance music playing in the background, we watched and judged as the bus driver drove for what seemed like hours before pulling into an alleyway, turning around, and plunging forward into the darkness in the opposite direction, obviously uncertain as to where the address he had been given could be found.

At about 12:30am, we pulled into a small side-street just beside London’s famous Tower Bridge and started to unload, weary would-be flyers sleepily wobbling out of the club-music-infused bus out into the chilly, dark night. We were all a little concerned that they driver may have finally just given up and decided that this would be a good spot to dump the tourists with little chance of our bodies ever being found, but too tired to care about our potential impending doom.

Thankfully, that was not the case. Minutes after arriving, I found myself sitting at a table, eating a hastily prepared (but delicious) buffet dinner in a lovely (four star!) hotel. I gobbled the meal as quickly as I could and headed downstairs to use the archaic terminal that was the only Internet access point in the building before fumbling my way to the fourth floor, sliding my keycard into the door and nearly falling into an enormous (and incredibly comfortable) bed.

I stayed in bed less than a minute, however, as I knew the bus would be coming back to pick us up in just a few hours, and all of my methods of communication – my phone, my computer, my iPod – had run out of juice during the day, leaving me without access to the outside world. I began pulling cords out from tiny pockets in my bag and rigging up the most suitable solution I could come up with.

And now here I stand, electronics charging, clothing for the ride back to the airport (and hopefully, back to Iceland) laid out, and eyes drooping from the weight of the day and the expected burdens of the coming morning.

But the bridge is beautiful, so I stare out the window for a few more moments, committing the moment to memory and reminding myself that sometimes a single moment – just one mental snapshot of a second in time – can justify a day of exhaustion and mental anguish.

Blog

Most Interesting People in the Room Relaunch

 

Backburners and Pivots

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while may remember a little project I started up last year called Most Interesting People in the Room.

From the get-go, this was a project destined to be very niche, and that was part of the point: to build a small community of people who are interested in the highest quality conversations and debates possible, without the normal streamlining, posturing and marketing that takes place around the rest of the web.

No dumbing anything down for common consumption. No nickel words instead of quarter words. No shameless self-promotion or one-sentence comments.

The tagline was ‘Unapologetically Intellectual Discourse,’ and that’s what we aimed for. We wanted to create an online environment that would allow and encourage people to learn, teach, improve themselves, and enjoy a potentially life-changing conversation with other intelligent, interesting people. No hurt feelings, emotional comebacks, spammers or trolls, just mutually-respectful intellectual intercourse.

Unfortunately, due to a frustrating series of setbacks with the software we were using that didn’t allow us to hack apart the conversation process the way we wanted, and a sudden lack of free time for myself (Ebookling got big faster than I thought it would) and Andrew, the development wizard behind the site (he ended up getting promotion after promotion, which left him with little time for side-projects), we ended up putting MIPitR on the backburner, waiting for the right software and the right time to bring it back.

Round Two

That time came not long ago, when during a conversation with Andrew, we decided to get it going again using different software and a slightly different approach to the monetization and guidelines for participation. Aspects of the system were tweaked, and we’re hoping it will streamline what used to be fairly-complex and confusing.

Here’s how it works now:

  1. MIPitR.com has a blog that features content on all of subjects, each as interesting as possible, and intended to inspire conversation and/or debate.
  2. If you click on ‘Forum,’ you’ll find that there are a few different rooms to check out, including a Duel Room, where members can challenge each other to debates or put out word for new opponents on a certain topic.
  3. Anyone can view the blog, and if you sign up for an account (for free), you’ll be able to create a profile and view the forum. If you want to participate in the forum, membership costs $10/month.
  4. The major benefit of membership (other than being able to participate in the forum) is that every week we’ll tally up ‘Likes’ that are given to posts and comments. We’ll then ask the author of one of the top scorers to write us an essay or article for the blog, and this author will be paid 10% of what we made from subscriptions the previous month (so if we have 10 members, the pay will be $10, if we have 100 members, the pay will be $100, etc).

Simple as that.

You can read the blog without any commitment.

You can read the conversations in the forum and create a profile with a small commitment (sign up for a free account…no spamming or anything shady, promise).

You can participate in the conversations and have the opportunity to get paid for writing articles on topics you’re interested in by paying $10/month. The money helps us pay out the authors we hire from the forum to write blog posts, and also allows us to create a small barrier to entry, which will help keep the membership limited to people who really want to participate.

Join the Conversation?

Commenting systems simply don’t provide the best conversations, especially these days, and I want more. I want to learn. I want to interact. I want more useful and interesting dialogue. It’s fun for me to talk at you here, but I would love to get into some in-depth conversations – to talk with you – over at the MIPitR Forum.

The new version of the site launches TODAY, so if you want to get in on the ground-floor of this, head over to MIPitR.com and take a look around. If you like what you see (or like what it can become), sign up! If not, no worries, I’ll still be writing over here, as well :)

Also: please report any bugs or problems to me! Thanks!

Also also: you can totally follow MIPitR on Twitter, or our Notebook blog for random interesting stuff from around the web.